Danish system export between ideology and practice
A study of a top-down implemented project for bottom-up development in rural Russia
|Danish system export between ideology and practice: A study of a top-down implemented project for bottom-up development in rural Russia||Sejerøe, Anders||ENG||58 K|
The paper takes its point of departure in fieldwork carried out at a Danish agricultural project in Russia. It focuses on the clash within the project between bottom-up ideology and top-down practice and how this contradiction is overcome.
The ideology of the Danish agricultural project is based on the ‘Danish Model’ a concept within Danish development discourse that denotes an approach based on democracy, institutional independence and horizontal cooperation. In relation to agricultural production this is expressed in the model of the cooperative, e.g. the establishment of a joint machinery station by the agricultural producers, who thereby become both owners and users of the institution.
However, the implementation of the bottom-up ideology is not so simple. First of all, the so-called cooperative institutions are initiated and funded by an external actor, the Danish donor, and can therefore never be truly bottom-up. Secondly, official legislation on development aid to Russia entails that the project must have an official institution as counterpart, which in this case was the regional agricultural administration. This means that there is also a local top-down administration of the project.
The contradiction within the project between a bottom-up ideology and top-down practice is overcome by using methods similar to those used in the Soviet era to overcome the contradictions between official rhetoric and actual practice: by a distinction between ‘paper reality’ and ‘real reality’, a use of ‘flex organization’ (Wedel 2001) where the project institutions are both public and private, and finally tactical ignorance (Quarles van Ufford 1993).